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Awareness growing of risks posed for brain injury in football

High school sports, including football, have provided the background for cherished memories and grandiose storytelling for reunions. One aspect that is likely glossed over is the numbers of players who may have suffered a serious brain injury from concussions. Recently, the risks posed to high school athletes have become a major consideration for most Massachusetts school athletic programs.

Over the past decade, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that the numbers of patients treated for concussion injury has increased by 60 percent. Of the estimated 173,000 who were treated for brain-related injuries last year, 55,000 of those stemmed from football injuries. As a result of the effort to prevent potentially serious injury, all parents and student athletes are required to participate in the mandatory concussion education program. 

One veteran coach remarked that his approach to the game has not been radically changed in spite of the increased awareness of the risk for injury. He stated that by following the fundamentals in regard to tackles and blocks, the risk for injury is minimal when correct techniques are applied. However, players have still suffered injuries due to the physical nature of the full contact sport.

There are still players who are hesitant to report their injury out of fear that they may lose out on playing time. However, the long-term consequences that a brain injury can pose to these youngsters far outweigh the loss of field time. Massachusetts residents who have suffered a serious head injury do have recourse to seek compensation for the monetary losses they may have been caused by the negligence of a third party. A personal injury lawsuit may be filed in the event that another party can be shown to be culpable for the physical injuries and subsequent financial harm.

Source: wamc.org, "High School Football And Concussion Concerns", Jim Levulis, Sept. 3, 2014

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